Seaweed secondary metabolites as antifoulants: effects of Dictyota spp. diterpenes on survivorship, settlement, and development of marine invertebrate larvae
- Cite this article as:
- Schmitt, T., Lindquist, N. & Hay, M. Chemoecology (1998) 8: 125. doi:10.1007/s000490050017
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A recent investigation showed that the brown seaweed Dictyota menstrualis was unfouled relative to co-occurring seaweeds, and that larvae of fouling invertebrates avoided settling on D. menstrualis due to chemicals on its surface. The secondary metabolites dictyol E and pachydictyol A are among the compounds found on this alga's surface. In the present study, we tested the effects of specific diterpenes from Dictyota on the survivorship, growth, and development of invertebrate larvae and developing juveniles that could foul seaweeds. Exposure to dictyol E, dictyol B acetate, pachydictyol A, and dictyodial from Dictyota menstrualis and D. ciliolata caused significant larval mortality, abnormal development, and reduce growth rates for three species of co-occurring invertebrates when their larvae were forced into contact with these metabolites. Larvae were damaged at metabolite concentrations as low as 5% of maximum possible surface concentrations of these compounds for the populations of Dictyota we studied. The negative effects of these secondary metabolites on potential foulers, in conjunction with data demonstrating larval avoidance of dictyol-covered surfaces, suggest that these compounds could function as chemical defenses against fouling, and could select for larvae that avoid hosts producing these metabolites.